Two pros busted in illegal gambling raid

Mike Gracz
Michael Gracz was one of 71 people arrested during the raid of an illegal gambling establishment in North Carolina Saturday.

According to local news station WRAL, Alcohol Law Enforcement agents executed a search warrant Saturday on a home located in a rural area near Benson, N. C. During the raid, 71 people, including property owner Marvin Ray Johnson, were arrested.

The police also confiscated more than $70,000 as well as assorted gambling equipment including a roulette wheel, a craps table, blackjack tables and poker tables.

"It was a fairly large operation for North Carolina. It was basically a mini-casino," said Ron Kaylor, ALE's deputy director for operations, to WRAL. "This is the first one I've seen in my 20 years like this."

Authorities said the establishment even had a fully staffed kitchen to feed the gamblers.

Agents of the ALE received numerous complaints about the gambling operation and conducted their own undercover investigation before raiding the home.

The establishment drew gamblers in from all across the state as well as some from out of state. Two of the men arrested were Bell and Gracz, both pro poker players living in Raleigh, N.C.

Gracz is a World Series of Poker bracelet winner and has nearly $3 million in poker tournament winnings. Bell has accumulated more than $1.2 million in tournament winnings with many deep cashes in WSOP and World Poker Tour events.

They and the others arrested face charges of misdemeanor gambling. Johnson faces additional charges for operating a gambling facility.

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